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Looking to hire 200+
Manteca Unified job fair Feb. 20
Substitute worker Egle Mendoza helps with lunches at the Woodward School cafeteria. She is one of 3,000 district employees. - photo by HIME ROMERO/ The Bulletin

The biggest employer in the South County is looking to hire more than 200 new employees.

The Manteca Unified School District needs to fill everything from teaching posts to school site assistant positions as well as para-professional jobs during a job fair set for Saturday, Feb. 20, at 8 a.m. at the district office complex.

The district has 3,000 employees including 1,200 teachers with an annual payroll in excess of $170 million making it the largest employer by far in the South County including Tracy and Lathrop.

Among the jobs being filled are:

u106 school site assistant positions ranging from 3 to 4 hours a day requiring a high school diploma or an equivalent.

u60 paraprofessional jobs ranging from 2.5 to 6 hours a day requiring No Child left Behind certification.

u15 bilingual paraprofessional jobs ranging from 2 to 5.75 hours a day requiring No Child Left Behind certification.

And while filling all of those jobs are critical, the district is hoping a new strategy will get it ahead of the game in landing needed teachers.

To avoid not having teachers hired in advance of the start of school in August with enough time to prepare lesson plans and classrooms, the district is hiring educators early in advance of vacancies being created through retirements and transfers. Hiring teachers credentialed in multiple subjects leaves little chance they won’t have a vacancy as is hiring math teachers of which there is a national shortage.

The shift in hiring strategy also means Manteca will stand a better chance of getting even better qualified candidates by essentially getting at the front of the line.

That coupled with starting teachers being the highest paid in San Joaquin County with a starting base pay of $50,806 and a policy that allows existing teachers transferring from jobs elsewhere to retain their seniority (up to 21 years credit where most salary schedules top out) eliminates pay as a deterrent to getting applicants.

At the same time the district is aggressively marketing the fact that Manteca is affordable for young teachers that want the culture and social activities that the Bay Area offers or the active lifestyle provided by everything from the Sierra to beaches.

“It is less expensive to live here than in the Bay Area  and you still access (to the Bay Area) on weekends,” noted District Superintendent Jason Messer.

That plays off media reports of young teachers hired by districts such as San Francisco that find it impossible to rent housing in The City. They often have to roommate with one or two other people. Even then, as some stories in Bay Area newspapers have pointed out, young teachers find they have little money left over to enjoy living in the region.

Manteca Unified also offers a free two-year teacher induction program, curriculum and training specialist, program coordinators, and department chairs — all focused on helping a  teacher succeed. The district also offers ongoing professional development opportunities online and in person.

Other incentives are detailed in what Manteca Unified describes as a “culture of excellence.”

That includes digital learning being deployed in transitional kindergarten through the 12th grade, dependent vocational charter school, traditional high schools on innovative 4x4 block schedule, untethered teaching and wireless projection, Microsoft Globe Showcase Technology District, “maker” mindset for engineering/computing and entrepreneurship, Advanced Placement District Honor Roll recipient, and an environmentally conscious mindset among other pluses.